“Losing” Your Virginity: Why the Double Standard?
September 27, 2016
A girl walks down the school hallway after having sex for the first time. She stares at her feet to the background noise of snickers from others in her path. Whispers fade in and out of “She lost her virginity” and “What a slut.” Head down, she presses onward.
She is disparaged.
A boy walks down the school hallway after having sex for the first time. His confident strides match the rhythm of his friends buzzing excitedly with news of his new accomplishment. “Get some!” he hears. With confirmation from his adoring fans, he struts onward.
He is revered.
O.K., so maybe this is a little dramatic! But the double standard when it comes to losing your virginity is real. It seems as if every time a boy has sex for the first time, he’s an icon, someone to look up to. However, when a girl has sex for the first time, she can be viewed as impure or dirty. This gender inequality happens all around us—at parties, on the internet, even in the hallways at school. We seem to be obsessed with each other’s lives, maybe because it’s easier to hide one’s own insecurities by judging the choices of others. However, what many teens might not realize is that the average age to begin having sex is 17. So it’s happening to plenty of us. Why all the judging, especially of girls?
Even the phrase “losing your virginity” seems to be used differently for girls than guys, implying that virginity is tangible and vital to the female and that she is incomplete without it. But both guys and girls are participating in what’s often a normal a part of teenage life when they have sex. A boy’s choice should not be celebrated and a girl’s frowned upon. It should be looked at as just another step in discovering sexual identity and preferences about sexual experience. Just as trying anything in life, it’s about making good choices and exhibiting proper judgment about what’s right for you personally—not about what anyone else says. Virginity is an intangible concept holding significance solely for its “loss” during sex, giving it essentially no purpose but to inspire hurtful labels and stigma…especially for girls.